Gary M. Ralston, CRE, Shares Top 10 Issues Affecting Real Estate

Photo of Gary Ralston

Gary Ralston, CCIM, SIOR

Gary M. Ralston, CRE, CCIM, SIOR, CPM, CLS, CDP, CRX, FRICS, shares insights about the most crucial issues impacting U.S. commercial and residential real estate. Ralston is a member of The Counselors of Real Estate® (CRE®), which annually announces the top 10 issues affecting real estate. Only 1,100 people in the world hold the CRE credential. Ralston is a managing partner of Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Ralston Dantzler Realty (CBCSRD) in Lakeland, FL.

Ralston said uncertainty within the global economy, tightening commercial and residential real estate credit, and the large numbers of both aging Baby Boomers and young Millennials simultaneously in the marketplace will have the greatest impact on real estate over the next 12 months.

Other important factors include increasing densification within cities; the current political environment; credit constraints and the lack of affordable housing; the disappearing middle class; an unstable energy market, behavioral and purchasing changes sparked by “the sharing economy;” and the growing evolution of retail centers and shopping malls into “experiential” destinations.

The Counselors of Real Estate organization is known for thought leadership, objective insights and extraordinary professional reach, with more than 50 real estate specialties represented among its member experts. Members contribute to development of the Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate by participating in one of 14 sectors of the CRE External Affairs (Issues and Trends) initiative. Ralston, recognized as the second most professionally accredited commercial Realtor in the Nation, has been a CRE member for 16 years.


  1. The changing global economy, including the potential for global economic deceleration.
  2. Debt capital market retrenchment, resulting in the lending market becoming more restrictive.
  3. Demographic shifts, including millennials (those aged 18-35) overtaking baby boomers in sheer numbers.
  4. Densification/urbanization, with more people of all ages being drawn to urbanized areas.
  5. The political environment that has become acrimonious at all levels. Locales that demonstrate political stability may attract residents and businesses; communities that project a negative environment will likely lose economic vitality over time.
  6. Housing affordability and credit constraints that challenge both the rental and home ownership markets.
  7. The disappearing middle class. Median income for middle-class households has fallen in recent years, impacting where people can afford to live. There will be a shift from home ownership to renting over time.
  8. Unstable energy markets, which impacts regional employment and economies.
  9. The emergence of a sharing/virtual economy, which has led to alternatives to traditional lodging and transportation offerings that often operate outside of traditional regulations. In this economy, shared office spaces are rapidly becoming more widespread.
  10. The rise of “experiential” retail, with major retailers shuttering stores and moving to online options. Watch for new retail ideas to attract consumers, including offering more local and regional shops and fewer large chains, in an effort to create more unique shopping experiences.

About Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Ralston Dantzler Realty  

Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Ralston Dantzler Realty (CBCSRD) is located in Lakeland, Florida and is Florida’s I-4 corridor’s premier commercial real estate firm. We offer unique positioning of properties utilizing our intimate knowledge of local markets, a recognized national brand, and a global reach through our Coldwell Banker Commercial offices worldwide. Founded by three highly-recognized CCIM-designated Florida brokers, the company brings together experts on all aspects of real estate. We provide services to land and commercial clients through both CBCSRD and our land brokerage, Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate.